|Publication number||US7513566 B2|
|Application number||US 11/558,038|
|Publication date||Apr 7, 2009|
|Filing date||Nov 9, 2006|
|Priority date||Feb 6, 2006|
|Also published as||US20070182216|
|Publication number||11558038, 558038, US 7513566 B2, US 7513566B2, US-B2-7513566, US7513566 B2, US7513566B2|
|Inventors||Adam Michael Ludwig|
|Original Assignee||Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (40), Referenced by (5), Classifications (11), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims priority of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/765,591 filed Feb. 6, 2006, which is incorporated herein by reference.
I. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to a combination energy absorbent and stiffening assembly for an automotive headliner.
II. Description of Related Art
Modern automotive vehicles conventionally include a headliner which is secured to the roof across the top of the passenger compartment. In order to protect the occupants of a vehicle in the event of a crash, such headliners oftentimes include energy absorbent cones disposed above the pillar garnishes. In the event of a head impact to the energy absorbent cones, the cones collapse and, in doing so, absorb the impact energy thereby lessening the possibility of serious bodily injury.
Conventionally, the energy absorbent cones were glued or otherwise attached to the headliner prior to assembly of the headliner in the automotive vehicle. Such energy absorbent cones, however, are relatively stiffer than the headliner so that the headliner frequently became creased, torn or otherwise damaged during the handling and installation of the headliner.
The present invention provides an energy absorbent and stiffening assembly for an automotive headliner which overcomes all of the above-mentioned disadvantages of the previously known devices.
In brief, the assembly of the present invention includes at least one and preferably two energy absorbent cones. These cones may be of any conventional construction which allows the cones to collapse upon impact thus absorbing the force of the impact. Such cones are typically a thin-walled structure.
At least one elongated stiffening rib is joined to and extends outwardly from at least one of the cones. This rib may extend between adjacent cones as well as axially outwardly from one or both cones along a front-to-rear axis of the vehicle.
The energy absorbent cones and stiffening ribs are of a one-piece construction and are attached to a headliner for the automotive vehicle in any conventional fashion, such as by an adhesive. Once attached to the headliner, the stiffening ribs protect the headliner from damage during handling and installation.
A better understanding of the present invention will be had upon reference to the following detailed description, when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, wherein like reference characters refer to like parts throughout the several views, and in which:
With reference first to
With reference now particularly to
With reference now particularly to
Referring again to
With reference now particularly to
A bottom 26 of each stiffening rib 24 is generally flush with a bottom of the energy absorbing cones 22. Additionally, the overall shape of a lower surface of the stiffening ribs 24 and energy absorbing cones 22 generally conforms with an upper surface 28 of the vehicle headliner 30.
In operation, one energy absorbing and stiffening assembly 12 is attached to the upper surface 28 of the headliner 30 on each lateral side of the headliner 30 so that the assembly 12 is positioned above and closely adjacent to a pillar garnish 30 on each side of the vehicle 10. Preferably, the assembly 12 is adhesively secured to the top 28 of the headliner 30 although other means may be used to attach the assembly 12 to the headliner 30 without deviation from the spirit or scope of the invention.
With the energy absorbing and stiffening assembly 12 attached to each lateral side of the vehicle headliner, the stiffening ribs 24 maintain the integrity of the shape of the headliner 30 during handling and assembly of the headliner 30 into the vehicle 10. As such, the assembly 12 effectively protects the headliner 30 from cracking, tearing or creasing during handling of the headliner 30. Furthermore, once the headliner 30 with the attached assemblies 12 are installed in the automotive vehicle 10, the energy absorbing cones 22 function in their conventional manner to protect vehicle occupants from serious injury in the event of a head impact above the pillar garnish.
From the foregoing, it can be seen that the present invention provides a simple and yet effective energy absorbing and stiffening assembly which both protects the headliner 30 from damage during handling and installation, and simultaneously provides the head impact protection above the pillar garnishes. Having described my invention, however, many modifications thereto will become apparent to those skilled in the art to which it pertains without deviation from the spirit of the invention as defined by the scope of the appended claims.
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|U.S. Classification||296/214, 296/187.03, 296/190.03, 280/751|
|Cooperative Classification||B60R2021/0442, B60R2021/0414, B60R13/0225, B60R21/04|
|European Classification||B60R13/02C2, B60R21/04|
|Nov 9, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: TOYOTA ENGINEERING & MANUFACTURING NORTH AMERICA,
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:LUDWIG, ADAM M.;REEL/FRAME:018500/0737
Effective date: 20061107
|Sep 12, 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: TOYOTA MOTOR ENGINEERING & MANUFACTURING NORTH AME
Free format text: CORRECTIVE ASSIGNMENT TO CORRECT THE ASSIGNEE PREVIOUSLY RECORDED ON REEL 018500 FRAME 0737;ASSIGNOR:LUDWIG, ADAM M.;REEL/FRAME:019866/0736
Effective date: 20061107
|May 8, 2009||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION, JAPAN
Free format text: CORRECTIVE ASSIGNMENT TO CORRECT THE PATENT NUMBER PREVIOUSLY RECORDED ON REEL 022634 FRAME 0876;ASSIGNOR:TOYOTA MOTOR ENGINEERING & MANUFACTURING NORTH AMERICA, INC.;REEL/FRAME:022659/0190
Effective date: 20090430
|Sep 5, 2012||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4